food aid -- improving not getting worse : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

This is a repost of an answer to a comment by Mark Robinowitz below -

I am reposting it since this issue is of great concern to all and there is purposfully DIS-informaiton being spread.

ALSO, I would urge everyone to be as responsible as possible about finding the most credible sources as they can. Too many ONLY read media with an agenda...and simply accept it as true. I'm including the left, the right, and the middle.


======== REPOST ===============

One idea is that the US should stop the war once 6,000 people are killed there. Given the near cessation of food aid, this figure is probably close to being reached already. Mark Robinowitz

Man you are either extremely careless or you purposefully try and spread false information!

After reading many of your posts, I suspect is is both!

Check the one objective source of how food aid is going, those who lead the effort to get it in Aghanistan -- the World Food Program.

Food aid delivery is FAR from being "near cessation".

All one has to do is look at the daily update from World Food Program (

From todays report --

Since the beginning of October, WFP and its partner non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have delivered food rations for two million people inside Afghanistan - equivalent to one third of the total number of Afghans who need food aid.

WFP food convoys: latest 10/29/01

WFP has been able to step up deliveries from countries neighbouring Afghanistan.

Peshawar, North West Pakistan: today, WFP loaded 1,500 metric tonnes of food aid.

WFP food aid deliveries into Afghanistan continue from both Tajikistan and Iran


WHY are they able to "step up delivery"??

Because the US arranges food convoys, to deliver US aid, from IRAN


Afghan Food Delivery to Transit Iran

By ALI AKBAR DAREINI, Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Iran has agreed to allow the delivery of U.S. food aid through its territory to Afghanistan and the construction of a refugee camp on its soil near the border, relief officials said.

The United States and Iran have not had diplomatic relations since the 1979 Islamic revolution. But as Washington has been putting together an anti-terror coalition the past month, delicate communications have been passed between the two countries.

Marius de Gaay Fortman, a coordinator for the World Food Program, said 45,000 tons of American wheat will arrive in Iran in early November to be delivered to the Afghan people through Iran.

A U.S. ship delivering the wheat will not come to Iran, he said, but rather the supplies will be transferred to another ship provided by the agency in international or Pakistani waters.

Fortman told reporters that another 20,000 tons of wheat donated by the United States will arrive in Pakistan early November, and by December there will be a consignment of 100,000 tons of American wheat for Afghanistan through Iran and Pakistan.

Iran accepted U.S. relief for itself - delivered through international agencies - after destructive earthquakes in 1997 and 1990. This was the first time the government has accepted to open the way for U.S aid on route for Afghanistan. On Tuesday, a senior U.S. official said in Washington that Iran has conveyed to the United States through Swiss intermediaries that it would try to rescue any American military personnel it found in distress on its territory.

Tehran has also allowed refugee camps to be set up on its territory just along the border with Afghanistan in case of an influx of people fleeing the fighting, a Red Cross official said. Iran, already home to some 2 million Afghan refugees, has resisted accepting more in the current crisis.

Setting up the camps at the border will allow easy access to refugees and facilitate relief operations, Astrid Heiberg, president of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, told a news conference.

Heiberg said concern is growing that a large number of Afghans will head to the Iranian border as fighting escalates inside Afghanistan and winter approaches. She did not elaborate.

Iran's top decision-making body, the Supreme National Security Council, made the decision on the camps Wednesday after the Taliban refused to allow the camps in Afghanistan, Ahmad Ali Norbala, head of the Iran Red Crescent Society, said at the news conference.

International aid workers pulled out of Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States, leaving local staffers to try to run the operations.

In Vienna, Austria, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Ruud Lubbers, said Thursday that so far Afghans have not fled in high numbers into neighboring nations, rather they have been fleeing cities to hide in the countryside

But the commissioner is preparing for the worst case scenario of 1.5 million refugees as the crisis sharpens. So far, bout 50,000 Afghan refugees have arrived in Pakistan since Sept. 11.

-- Jackson Brown (, October 29, 2001


A few weeks ago, almost no food was getting into Afghanistan, according to most accounts. Nearly every food aid organization denounced the spectacle of the US dropping food rations from warplanes as grossly inadequate.

While food aid shipments have risen, the situation is critical.

Even the citation you have notes that only enough food for one-third of the needy is getting through. Plus, winter is almost here, which makes travel in that part of the world more difficult. Even if enough food for everyone gets through in the near future, the disruptions of food after Sept 11, when lots of aid agencies pulled out, and the bombing of this month means that food supplies in that drought stricken war torn country are insufficient for the winter. And many hunger situations throughout history show that the weakest parts of the population rarely get equal access to food, they often succomb to diseases before they actually starve.

The only question here seems to be whether thousands starve or millions.

Even if there wasn't any war, no Taliban, and world peace, people would still be going hungry due to the extreme drought that has disrupted agriculture in that part of the world. Dropping cluster bombs (which add to the land mine problem) isn't the way to avert disaster.

If you want to accuse people of disinformation, I suggest you turn on a television.

Home > Progressive Community > NewsWire > For Immediate Release

Share This Article With Your Friends FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE OCTOBER 29, 2001 1:27 PM CONTACT: Institute for Public Accuracy Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020 David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

Bombing Halt Now or Mass Starvation by Thanksgiving? WASHINGTON - October 29 -

SARAH ZAIDI,, Research director of the Center for Economic and Social Rights, Zaidi is Pakistani. CESR has produced three comprehensive fact sheets on Afghanistan since September 11. She said today: "Relief officials on the ground are warning that millions -- literally millions -- of Afghan civilians will starve to death this winter unless the U.S. military suspends its attacks and allows the UN to re-establish effective food distribution. We are talking about women, children and the poorest of the poor, who have no means to access food in this war zone."

JIM JENNINGS, President of Conscience International, a humanitarian aid organization, Jennings was in Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan this May and will soon return to resume humanitarian work. He said today: "This is a race against time and we are losing. Even before September 11, there was a major humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, with millions of people facing severe food shortages. And even before the bombing began, Afghanistan had the largest number of refugees in the world -- and refugees depend on aid for survival. The interruption of vital food deliveries and the withdrawal of the staff of humanitarian agencies because of the bombing have created a dire situation for the already vulnerable population -- 70 percent were already malnourished. The Pentagon is claiming progress, but it has acknowledged the food drops are minuscule and it is dragging out its bombing campaign. Distribution and timing are crucial -- you could have food in Kabul and not distribute it to the people who need it in the countryside. Time is of the essence: we must act now before winter. The bombing has to halt, we need to get food in or Afghan people will begin starving in great numbers at about the same time Americans sit down for their Thanksgiving feast."

DOMINIC NUTT,, Spokesperson for Christian Aid, Nutt recently arrived in London from Islamabad. He said today: "The simple fact is that less than 20 percent of what needs to is getting into Afghanistan and even less is getting distributed. The only way to deal with this is to have a pause in the bombing to stockpile food for the winter. The UN is estimating that 7.5 million people need food aid. People are starving now in some areas, according to our source of information from within Afghanistan. It was actually starting when I was in Afghanistan this August -- in Herat and Ghor Province. Every village I went to had been affected by drought. Camps were having deaths from hunger and hunger-related diseases. There are coping mechanisms, but after three years of drought they run out -- people have eaten the seed stock. About 85 percent of the people live in rural communities -- the roads are bad enough when the weather is good, you can't get food to those rural areas in the winter. It's going to get worse and worse; you could see entire villages wiped out. Governments have effectively sponsored the Taliban regime; it's a bit hypocritical, we think, for them to say that now it's crucial that they bomb the Taliban. Can't you wait four weeks for us to feed millions of innocent people at risk of starvation?"

Published on Monday, October 29, 2001 by Reuters U.S. Warns Afghans of Yellow Cluster Bomblets by Deborah Zabarenko U.S. radio broadcasts into Afghanistan now include a safety warning: airdropped food parcels are square, unexploded cluster bombs are can-shaped, and both are yellow, so it is important to tell them apart.

``Attention people of Afghanistan!'' the broadcasts in Persian and Pashto say. ``As you may have heard, the Partnership of Nations is dropping yellow Humanitarian Daily Rations. The rations are square-shaped and are packaged in plastic. They are full of good nutritious, Halal food,'' prepared according to Islamic precepts.

``In areas far from where we are dropping food, we are dropping cluster bombs,'' the radio spots say, according to a transcript obtained on Monday.

``Although it is unlikely, it is possible that not every bomb will explode on impact. These bombs are a yellow color and are can-shaped ...

``Once again, we will not be using these bombs in areas near where we are dropping relief supplies. Please, please exercise caution when approaching unidentified yellow objects in areas that have been recently bombed.''

Cluster bombs are meant to hit so-called soft targets, including people and vehicles. Cluster bombs can contain many bomblets that disperse as they drop, and it is these that might be mistaken for food packages. Bomblets that fail to explode on impact could well blow up if disturbed on the ground.

The ones mentioned in the radio spot are cylindrical, measuring about 2.5 inches by 6.5 inches, some with a yellow ''tail'' on top. Each Humanitarian Daily Ration (HDR) is approximately 7 inches by 13 inches.

The radio warning is a departure from other broadcasts in the area delivered in a U.S. operation named ``Commando Solo.''

Transcripts of these broadcasts released earlier by the Pentagon showed they were aimed at members of Afghanistan's ruling Taliban, believed by Washington to be harboring Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda guerrillas.

Washington holds bin Laden responsible for the Sept. 11 hijack attacks on the United States that killed some 4,800 people, and blames the Taliban for harboring him.

``When you decide to surrender, approach United States forces with your hands in the air,'' an earlier radio message said. ``Sling your weapons across your back, muzzle toward the ground. Remove your magazine and expel any rounds. Doing this is your only chance of survival.''

As of Monday, U.S. military planes had dropped some 960,000 HDR food packages on Afghanistan. The yellow-wrapped 2,000-calorie meatless bundles are a key propaganda component of President Bush's war against terrorism.

The Bush administration has stressed that the United States is not at war with the people of Afghanistan.

As airstrikes continued for a 23rd day on Monday, so did the delivery of airdropped HDRs, Defense Department officials said.

-- mark (, October 29, 2001.

Home > Progressive Community > NewsWire >

So this is where you get your information?

What I want to know is where was the "progressive" writerws when this did not involve attacking the US.

I did a search of the Progressive news groups, as a sample, with the search word "afghanistan+food+aid"....from 09/01 to 12/31 for 1999 and 2000.

In the last 4 months of 2000, with the conditions -- at a time -- described as:

"""Poorly-clad, barefoot children are shivering in sub-zero temperatures, people are begging for food and fresh graves are being dug every day, as politics and nature create a serious humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan." Three articles were actually on Afghanistan.

During this period, there were nine articles even had those words -- THREE were about Afghanistan.

In the last 4 months of 1999, 18 articles had those three words, 2 were devoted to Afghanistan.

In the last 6 weeks, in 1/3rd the periods in 1999 and 2000, there have been 170+ articles that universally emphasized the US bombing to the exclusion of All the ongoing -- and preexisting -- conditions there.



-- Jackson Brown (, October 29, 2001.

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